On tonight's episode of The Bachelor we get a former Bachelor contestant, a former Bachelorette contestant, lots of bowling, and the start — and end — of an extremely misguided rivalry. Plus, the women start mentioning hometowns, which can only mean that we’re reaching the end of the contestant drama and the start of Matt falling for more than one person.
The episode begins with the rest of the Jessenia and MJ showdown that no one asked for. Jessenia tells Matt that MJ was part of the mean girl group. MJ tells Matt that she’s scared of losing him over someone is questioning her character. Matt says he was surprised MJ’s name was brought up as someone who was dividing the house, because being mean is not what he knows from her. Unfortunately — accurate or not — it’s the only thing viewers know her for. Matt gives Jessenia the rose and sends MJ packing. It’s the right decision. (I still don’t see Jessenia making it much further, but that’s another story.)
Once Jessenia reunites with the other women, Chris Harrison announces that we’re going straight into the rose ceremony with no cocktail party. Some of the women are annoyed that they won't get more time with Matt, but Serena C. stretches things further. She jumps to the conclusion that if the bullying in the house had never been brought up, Matt wouldn’t have had to confront MJ, and the cocktail party would still be on... and she blames all of this... on Katie. This is like someone whose apartment building was on fire saying that if their neighbor could have just kept their mouth shut about the blaze they wouldn’t all be standing out in the cold. It's ridiculous.
The next day, Serena C. decides to confront Katie, telling her that she’s there to start drama and not for Matt. “You’re lighting all these little fires everywhere and you are the freakin’ arsonist,” Serena says. Hey! That’s a book!
Katie is understandably pissed, because this doesn’t make any sense. Katie insists she didn’t name names when she spoke to Matt, but she wasn’t going to just not mention how toxic the house was. By the way, Serena is starting a fight with the woman she believes is there only to report things to Matt and start drama. Based on Serena's logic, wouldn’t she just assume Katie would report this to Matt, too?
Their argument continues in front of some of the other women, who are clearly over all the drama at this point. Unfortunately for them, Heather Martin from Colton Underwood’s Bachelor season has just arrived at the resort to shoot her shot with Matt. More drama is a-comin'.
Heather explains to Chris Harrison that her friend, former Bachelorette Hannah Brown, told her that she would be a good fit with Matt. (Hannah knows Matt through Tyler Cameron, and the three of them were in a quarantine bubble together for a while.) The next thing you know, we get a clip of Heather quarantining in her hotel room, so she can join the show. Because of this, it’s clear that she showed up earlier on in the season, but then had to wait until it was safe for her to actually join.
With the rest of the cast unaware of this Heather development, it’s time for Matt’s one-on-one with Pieper. They go to a carnival that, because of the pandemic, is just the two of them and a bunch of rides and games. They have a great time together. At dinner, Pieper says that she’s not used to expressing her feelings, because her family isn’t very open about their emotions. But, she wants to change that, so she tells Matt she is falling in love with him. Matt is clearly into Pieper and promises to continue being open about his feelings, too. But, notably, he doesn’t say he’s falling in love back like he did when Rachael gave a similar confession on her one-one-one. Pieper gets the rose. They kiss while listening to a performance from Temecula Road, a band that looks like it consists of three ousted Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants.
The group date is next. Matt and nine women go bowling and get to have a bunch of wings, nachos, and beer. This date is disconcertingly normal and everyone is having a great time, so obviously Chris has to show up to ruin it. He announces that the women will be divided into two teams, with the winning team going to the evening portion of the date.
These dates can go either way when it comes to the lead deciding to just let everyone continue on to the afterparty, and this time, it’s no surprise that Matt allows them all to attend. After all, the losing team has three of his frontrunners: Abigail, Bri, and Rachael. Plus, as Kit hilarious points out to him, “What do you want in a wife? A bowler?"
At night, Michelle gets the group date rose, further cementing her front-runner status.
Matt has a one-on-one date with Katie next, but first, he meets up with his best friend Tyler. That’s right, people, it’s the official return of Tyler Cameron to our televisions. Honestly, he doesn’t get as big of an introduction as he deserves. Matt and Tyler play pool and talk about the contestants. Tyler says his relationship with Hannah was a slow burn, so Matt shouldn’t discount any contestants that he isn’t super tight with yet.
This statement leads seamlessly into Matt's date with Katie, a woman he isn't super tight with yet. Their date is playing a prank on Tyler. Tyler's getting a massage, but Matt and Katie are on a hidden camera and audio with an actor who was hired to play his masseuse. Katie and Matt get to tell the actor what to do, including pinching Tyler’s nipples (which seems like a possible consent violation, from what we are shown) and using a massage roller on his head. They also have her take a phone call where she talks about how she can’t believe she gets to massage Tyler C. Eventually, Katie and Matt run into the room to reveal the trick.
Matt and Katie have fun together with the "prank," but at night it’s time to get serious. Katie talks about her past relationships and what she’s looking for in a partner. We don’t hear much from Matt, and it becomes clear why when he says he can’t give her the rose. His relationships with some of the others have progressed further. He does thank Katie for being so valuable in this process — aka telling him the house was toxic, which led to the exits of Anna, Victoria, and MJ. We get a long goodbye monologue with Katie as she drives off, which could be a good sign for her Bachelorette chances. On the other hand, she is leaving far earlier in the season than most future Bachelorettes do.
Next up is the rose ceremony cocktail party, which is crashed by Heather, who drives herself there. I guess Nemacolin Resort is really big, but it's funny to see her pulling up and narrating to her car camera. When she arrives, the other women are shocked. Heather interrupts Matt’s conversation with Pieper, and his reaction is to bust out laughing.
Pieper rejoins the other women, saying, “What the fuck? Who is that?!” A few of them recognize Heather from the show. Everyone is confused. Some of them are pissed. We don’t get to Matt’s conversation with Heather, because, I assume, she’s not going to be sticking around very long so they have to draw this out as long as possible.
Next week: Jessenia gets a one-on-one. Serena C. calls Heather “a virus." A musical guest sings really dramatically.
Winner of the episode: Katie. She went where few Bachelor contestants have gone before by reporting drama to the lead and not seeming annoying because of it or getting herself immediately kicked off the show. She always stood up for herself, and remained a fan favorite even after yelling at another contestant. So, for these reasons, Chris Harrison, I am submitting this application for Katie to be the next Bachelorette.
Loser of the episode: Serena C. She didn’t even know she was going after a Bachelor Nation fave. Also, don't call someone a virus! Especially not now!
Editor's Note: This recap has been updated to better reflect Refinery29's stance on the Tyler Cameron "prank."